Blood Punch is the directorial debut from Madellaine Paxson and was written by Eddie Guzelian. The bulk of the previous work from both is comprised of writing for children’s television, though nothing in the film would give you that impression. There’s nothing for the kids here.
Interestingly, both Paxson and Guzelian worked on Power Rangers R.P.M., as did stars Milo Cawthorne, Olivia Tennet and Ari Boyland. But that’s neither here nor there.
To call Blood Punch a horror film would be stretching it. It’s really more of a violent mindfuck of a thriller, but there are certainly plenty of elements that would be at home in a horror film, so there’s a good chance you’re still in the right demographic.
The story follows a guy who finds a mysterious (and disturbing) recording of himself as he struggles to remember what happened the night before. We then learn that he was in a rehab facility where he met a woman who took him away to join her and her psychotic boyfriend to cook up a huge batch of meth and make some quick money.
That’s just the set up. The plot puts our characters in the trusty ol’ cabin-in-the-woods setting, and gives them plenty of tools for bloodshed. And for a movie that focuses on three people, there is a tremendous amount of that. To say much more about the plot would be a disservice to the viewer. It’s not an entirely unique concept, but it’s executed in a way that feels relatively fresh, and the characters and the story’s progression sell it.
That said, I spent a fair amount of the film trying to decide if previous scenes were full of plot holes or if I was just overlooking things. That may sound off-putting, but the nature of the movie pretty much begs you to constantly question what’s really going on. Like I said, it’s one of those mindfuck-type things. I wrestled with that for a while, but by the time it was over, had pretty much just decided that I didn’t care if there were holes, and would take things at face value. Thankfully that value was pretty entertaining. If you want to fight that battle as you watch it, you can, but if nothing else, it only gives the movie rewatchability.
It manages to stay thoroughly engaging throughout so it can pretty much get away with the uncertainty of the narrative’s cohesion (which for the record, I still can’t decide if it’s completely cohesive or not). It all comes to a satisfying enough conclusion that I’m happy with just leaving it at that.
I’d give the movie high marks for its use of music, which often comes from an old record player in the cabin. The characters are solid as are the performances of the actors playing them.
The film feels like the type that could garner cult status. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but its style and attitude certainly help it aspire for that.
Blood Punch hits DVD and VOD on September 1.